Legendary UNC-Chapel Hill basketball coach Dean Smith first coined the words “The Carolina Way” to reflect the spirit of the university. The Carolina Way means something slightly different to every Carolina student and alum, but underpinning every definition is a belief in excellence. This excellence drew me to Carolina as both an undergrad and graduate student, and it’s what attracts so many students from around the world.
I decided to pursue an MBA because my responsibilities and oversight in the IT project management arena escalated, as did the necessity for integrating other functions across the business. I sought the managerial competence to ensure our technology priorities met the far-reaching needs of the organization as a whole. While I felt highly confident within the confines of my IT world, I lacked the business knowledge to advocate effectively at a broader, visionary level.
As I began the MBA@UNC program, I received questions from colleagues, friends and mentors. They had a lot of interest in the online format, the integrity of the degree, and the time and financial commitment. When they asked why I picked MBA@UNC, my answer was, “I would have liked to quit my job and go to Stanford full time, but that just wasn’t a reality, so I picked the best school that had the accessibility I needed.”
Now that I am in the program I read the various news articles on online MBA programs out of curiosity, and I chose to contribute to this blog to show others what life was like in the MBA@UNC program as well as help dispel any myths about the online experience. That said, an article featured in the FINS section of last week’s Wall Street Journal on “The Downside and Upside of an Online MBA” by Beecher Tuttle led me to believe that perhaps our student blogs do not do enough to accurately portray student life in this program.
They say time flies when you’re having fun. That couldn’t be truer for me as an MBA@UNC student. We are now more than half way through the quarter and my cohort is a third of the way through the entire program. It’s hard to believe we’re only a month away from the next immersion weekend in San Francisco since I’ve only just begun to process the experience of the first one we had in December.
One of my admissions essays to MBA@UNC heralded 2011 as my “banner year for novelty and transition.” Wordy and pompous? Undoubtedly. Yet also surprisingly true. From the start, I knew my enrollment in MBA@UNC would bring a unique set of challenges, but I hoped that the opportunities available would assuage any lingering doubts I harbored. Let’s take a look back at the first six months of the program, and see how they stack up against my high bar for “novelty and transition.”
So here I am, getting ready to start term 3 tonight and I am actually looking forward to class tonight. There is something familiar in the routine, plus I’m looking forward to catching up with my classmates (we’ll see if the private chat stays up and running all term). It seems we really have become a “family” as we move through this adventure together and that fact makes prospects for 2012 even better.
“You already have a Master’s Degree? Why do you want another one?”
So was the first question the interviewer asked me six months ago.
Fast forward to today: I am in the middle of taking my Financial Accounting final and I just received an email from MBA@UNC wondering when I’ll be ready to post my first blog. My first thought is, “Hey, I’m here trying to remember how to calculate Return on Assets, there may not be a reason to write this blog if I can’t solve this problem.” That was when I turned off the email account.